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How to Add A Blank Space to the Windows 7 Taskbar

Windows 7 - Separate taskbar items using a blank spaceThe Windows 7 taskbar has a groovy pinned icon taskbar system that works quite well.  But, despite its flexibility it doesn’t allow you to space out your icons in whatever way you like.  Sure, you can easily change what order icons are listed in (click and drag), but what if you want to separate groups of icons and leave a blank space in-between?  With this groovy How-To I’ll show you how to do just that.

Step 1

Right-Click any blank area on your desktop and Select New > Text Document.

desktop create new text document file

Step 2

Rename the extension at the end file from .txt to .exe – this will change the file into a blank executable.*

*To change file types more easily you need to set Windows to show file extensions.

rename file to exe

Step 3

Right-Click your new .exe file and Select Pin to Taskbar.

pin exe file to taskbar windows 7

Step 4

Now that the file is pinned to your taskbar, Right-Click it’s icon on the taskbar and Select Properties.*

*Depending on your system settings you may have to Right-Click an extra item to access properties, as shown below.

rightclick taskbar shortcut properties

Step 5

In the properties window Click the Shortcut tab, from here Click Change Icon

change taskbar shortcut icon windows 7

Step 6

In the Change Icon window, Scroll to the Right until you see a blank space.  This is a transparent icon that will show up blank, Select it and Click OK.

Note: The default file that stores these icons is: %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll

select transparent shortcut icon for windows 7

Click OK again to save changes and exit the properties window.

ok to save changes

Done!

You should now have a blank icon on your Taskbar and you can use your mouse to drag it around to wherever you like.  At this point you can create as many blank spaces as you need to separate all of your Taskbar items; you’ll just need to make a new .exe file for each one.  While I’m not entirely sure how useful this is, it certainly is a groovy geek trick!

a new space on the windows 7 taskbar

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5 Responses to How to Add A Blank Space to the Windows 7 Taskbar

  1. Koutheir Attouchi February 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    I love your trick, but it’s a dirty hack! Especially the “empty” executable and the transparent icon!
    I am not a Windows 7 user, but thank you for the trick!

  2. Hmm June 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Well would prefer that you couldn’t press on it.. “c:\space.exe os not a valid Win32 appli…” + “Can’t påem this item – it might have been moved….”

    • Koutheir June 17, 2011 at 12:25 am #

      If this really disturbs you, then (if you know some C programming) make a program that does nothing and put it instead of the empty file. It would take you 2 minutes to do so.

  3. Ken Mason February 27, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Thanks so much for this extremely neat hack! I have one question, though: Is there any way to change the invisible icon’s width?

  4. Jonathon Harris October 26, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Great tip, thanks! Riffing off your idea – to avoid the Windows alert if you accidentally click on the spacer – I changed the target in the spacer properties to instead open a new explorer window. C:Windowsexplorer.exe /n,/e,c:UsersYOUDesktop

    That way, you could create simple custom icons (color bar maybe), and then use those spacers to open explorer windows related to the programs they are dividing.

    Web browsers spacer could open XXAMP/http docs folder, 3d apps spacer could open root 3d projects directory, etc.

    Thanks again.

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